A singer and songwriter whose music fuses the urgency of punk rock with the passion and songcraft of heartland rock, Brian Fallon rose to fame as the leader of the band the Gaslight Anthem before moving on to a solo career. In 2015, after releasing five acclaimed records, including 2012′s chart-topping Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem announced that they would be going on an indefinite hiatus. Painkillers, Fallon’s debut solo effort, arrived in 2016, with a follow-up, Sleepwalkers, appearing in 2018. After 2020′s more personal Local Honey, Fallon released a self-produced collection of Christian hymns called Night Divine.
Fallon was born in Red Bank, New Jersey on January 28, 1980. His mother was a professional musician, and performed with a folk group, but Fallon’s early musical efforts were just as strongly informed by punk and alternative rock. Under the name No Release, Fallon recorded a 16-song, cassette-only release titled The Coffeehouse Sessions in 1997. Not long after, he joined a ska-punk band called Surrogate McKenzie, who dropped four self-released cassettes between 1998 and 2000. In 2001, Fallon launched a new band, the short-lived Amping Copper, who released a self-titled six-song set before fading out.
After producing a solo EP, Cincinnati Rail Tie, in 2004, he founded a new group, This Charming Man, with himself on vocals and guitar along with Michael Volpe (lead guitar), Chris Clementi (bass), and Mike Leboeuf (drums). This lineup cut an EP, Every Little Secret, that was released in 2005, but the band soon began to splinter, and Clementi and Leboeuf left the group late that year, with bassist Alex Levine and drummer Benny Horowitz taking their places. When Volpe left This Charming Man in early 2006, guitarist Alex Rosamilia came aboard, and the group changed its name to the Gaslight Anthem.
In May 2007, the Gaslight Anthem released their first album, Sink or Swim, and the group quickly developed an underground following that gave way to mainstream acceptance with the release of 2008′s The '59 Sound. Bruce Springsteen, whose music was a major influence on the Gaslight Anthem, not only gave the band a spot on the bill at his 2009 Hyde Park concert in London, but at the Glastonbury Festival later the same year, Springsteen joined the Gaslight Anthem during their set and he brought Fallon on-stage to join him for part of his headlining performance. In 2010, the Gaslight Anthem released their third album, American Slang, and the following year Fallon launched a side project, the Horrible Crowes, featuring himself and guitarist Ian Perkins, who worked as a guitar tech with the Gaslight Anthem; the first Horrible Crowes album, Elsie, arrived in September 2011.
With 2012′s Handwritten, the Gaslight Anthem rose to major-label status, signing a deal with Mercury Records, though a corporate reorganization would move the group to Island Records for 2014′s Get Hurt, a song cycle informed by Fallon’s divorce. During the downtime between the two albums, Fallon teamed up with guitarist and singer Brian McGee, bassist Catherine Popper, and drummer Randy Schrager for another side project, Molly and the Zombies; Fallon said they didn’t intend to release studio material, though they made several live tracks available online.
In July 2015, after the Gaslight Anthem completed a tour of Europe, the bandmembers issued a statement declaring they were on indefinite hiatus, and three months later, Fallon announced he would soon be entering the studio to record a solo album. “A Wonderful Life,” the first single from his solo project, was unveiled in December 2015, and the full-length album, Painkillers, dropped in March 2016. The album made a strong showing on the Billboard 200 at number 30 and he followed up a month later with the Record Store Day exclusive EP Georgia, spending much of the next year touring in support of his two releases. He put out two singles in late 2017, “Forget Me Not” and “If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven,” both in advance of Fallon’s second solo LP, Sleepwalkers, which arrived the following year. After two solo records that mostly retained a rockier sound, his third full-length, 2020′s Local Honey, turned toward mellower territory to tell more personal stories. 2021′s self-produced and self-recorded Night Divine saw Fallon reinterpreting a collection of classic hymns. ~ Mark Deming